Late night overdue kayaker found unharmed

Sunday, July 15, 2018

On July 13, at 1:26 a.m. the Spencer Police Department received a report of an overdue kayaker. The reporting party stated the kayaker was dropped off on July 12 at 11 p.m. on the Little Sioux River footbridge located in Oneota Park near the Spencer Aquatic Center. The kayaker was expected to reach the 240th Avenue bridge by midnight but failed to arrive. Spencer Police attempted to search the area but had difficulty due to the heavy rains, time of night and swollen river. At 2:40 a.m. the kayaker was located by police unharmed near the intersection of Highway 18 and St. Luke Drive in Spencer.

Spencer Police would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that although kayaking is fun and enjoyable, it can also be dangerous. The high water in the river causes numerous hazards that can change at any time. Flood waters pick up debris and can create more blockages and underwater hazards. The river current will also vary from one location to another and is very unpredictable.

If you do decide to paddle:

—Always wear a life jacket that is coast guard approved.

—Establish a float plan. This includes knowing your route and how long it will approximately take to reach your ending destination. Carry a cellphone in a waterproof container. Kayak with a friend and let other people know your plans.

—Never paddle in dangerous weather that includes high winds and lightning. Do not paddle at night.

—Never consume alcohol while on the water.

—Always stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun and heat.

For any questions regarding boating safety, contact Conservation Officer Joe Yarkosky with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 712-260-1004.

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